How much is a vacant piece of property worth to the city of Elkins? Apparently, not as much as it could be.
For several years now, the lot behind Elkins City Hall has sat vacant. Occasionally, it's used as a parking lot. It was once considered as a possibility for the skatepark now located in Glendale. It's even been called unsightly by some city officials and residents alike.
In all, the city has been at a loss of what to do with the big gravel space.
The answer came Thursday with an agreement to begin a feasibility study on constructing a hotel. Randolph County Development Authority Executive Director Robbie Morris, who will oversee the project, said several companies have an interest in the property.
It's yet undetermined whether the city will sell or lease the lot, but either way it will be a financial gain for the area's economy.
Earlier this year, Mayor Duke Talbott used the words "counterproductive" and "costly" to describe the city's ownership of real estate that gets marginal or no use. More specifically, he cited a state law that requires the property to be removed from tax rolls. That, he said, equates to the Randolph County Board of Education and County Commission losing money.
A new business is always a plus. In this case, it could be a double bonus. Not only would a hotel create jobs, it also would contribute to the county's Hotel-Motel Tax base. In addition, guests staying in the hotel are most likely going to spend money at other local businesses during their visit.
Putting this property to use makes more sense than not.
We commend the Development Authority and City Council for working together to bring more business to the area and in turn enhance our economy.
We look forward to seeing the plans develop.